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Katy Nelson ~ Week 4

This Week’s Workshop: Thai Red Curry

In this week’s workshop we looked at the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, who in 1992 created an Exhibition titled: ‘Untitled (Free)’ at the 303 Gallery in New York. He converted the gallery into a kitchen and began to cook and serve Thai Curry for free to visitors everyday, and this has been recreated alongside the artist in the MOMA where curry is served everyday from noon until 3pm by the museum staff. In this piece the artist has made the artwork interactive and inclusive for the audience, creating a social environment within the gallery and removing the boundaries between the artist and the viewer. I think that this is very clever as it has meant that it’s not just the art of cooking the food that is to be admired, but the opportunity to connect with strangers in an unfamiliar environment, where everyday will be different. When we recreated this idea in the workshop, at first I felt quite awkward as I hadn’t spoken to a lot of the other people before and didn’t know my place in the situation. As time went on though and the creation began to take shape, everyone began to work together more and became more creative about the presentation of the food. By the end of the session when we all sat down to eat, the mood felt really positive and friendly, with super cute hand-drawn cat tablemats, music and good conversation. I feel like the group as a whole got to know each other more throughout the 3 hours as it pushed us to work collaboratively to make something pretty special- I’m not usually a fan of any type of curry, but I genuinely did enjoy the one that we made. Having done this now, I can see why Rirkrit Tiravanija’s creation was such a success and appreciate how he used an everyday activity to bring people together and make them more appreciative of the simpler things in life.

The New Life of my Paper Cup…

Two week’s ago now we were given a paper cup in class which we filled with water and drank to draw our attention to some of the things we do everyday that we usually overlook. I found this activity quite thought-provoking, and so wanted to do something just as interesting with the paper cup after the lesson had finished. For a few days the cup just sat neglected on my dressing table, as I was unsure of how I could incorporate it into my everyday life in a way that wasn’t as a vessel for liquid.

Almost every evening my boyfriend and I let our 5 rats, Syrian hamster and Dwarf hamster out of their cages to play and get some exercise. The smallest and youngest of them, Julius the Dwarf hamster, lives up in our bedroom and has a spotty playpen where we let him run around and also socialize with him, as he is still only around 3 months old. One night when he was out playing, I spotted the paper cup on my desk and thought it would make a perfect new toy for Julius, as he loves to hide in and under things. I put the cup into his playpen with him and he instantly started nibbling it before running inside. When we put Julius back into his cage, I put the cup in there too to see if he would use it- and he loves it! It is a week later, and the cup is now being utilized as something to chew when he is bored as well as an occasional hiding place where he can easily watch me fill up his food bowl and ambush my hand when I move any of his toys. This has really got me thinking about how important certain things are to me and how much time they fill of my everyday life- I spend so much of my free time caring for my rodents as they mean so much to me. I was really happy to see how appreciative little Julius was of something as simple as a paper cup, something that I would have just discarded after class if the task hadn’t been set, and it highlighted to me how appreciative I am of all my pets as they make me happier everyday. Because of this, I want to try incorporate my animals into the purple art I plan to create over the next few weeks.

Here are some photos of Julius and his Paper Cup…

Ruby Bassford

Ruby Bassford is a non-binary artist from Maryland, USA. Their work explores many different subjects and themes such as identity, nature, illness and sex. Bassford works in many different mediums with photography, installation, performance and painting being among the most frequent. They are a queer, trans, disabled artist who lives with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, ADHD, Anxiety and Depression and these struggles are a main focus in all of their work. Although the subjects and meanings behind their works are not something I am investigating in my own project, when I first saw their paintings I was immediately drawn in and inspired by their use of colour and the positioning of the objects within the frame of each painting to create a sense that we are looking at a snapshot of their everyday life. After researching the artist and learning about the background and meaning behind each painting, I can see how they have used this dream-like and aesthetically pleasing colour pallet in a deeper and more meaningful way than I had first thought- to almost juxtapose the nature of the medical and sexual items that are shown in the paintings. Their painting style is quite simplistic and expressive, yet the compositions as a whole always appear very meticulously thought out. I think that in a way my aim will be to subvert this- I want to paint in a very delicate and detail-orientated way, but I want the composition of my paintings to look natural, candid and like they are a photograph of a scene in my purple everyday.

My Purple Project: Update…

There have been a lot of changes this week in my purple project. After spending a lot of time trying to realize my vision of creating a perfectly to scale model of my ‘dream purple bedroom’, I came to the conclusion that with the short time frame and the level of skill that I currently have from only four weeks of scenography ‘Design Skills’, it was too ambitious for the time being. I knew that the premise of my purple project was strong and something I am really passionate about pursuing, but I just needed to consider how I can effectively present my ideas in a way that also displays who I am as an artist right now. After my tutorial, I had decided that painting was the best next step for me to take on this journey, as it has always been something I find comfort and joy in doing as well as a skill that I have been refining over the years. So, purple, painting, what next? Still feeling a bit lost as to what to do next, I took a look back at what I had done in Week 2. I had taken photographs of some of my favourite purple items, things that I see everyday, things that make me smile- a lot like my pets. This is when I decided to chose one of these things and to just spend the time looking at it, admiring it and then finally painting it. For this I chose my favourite ornament, my purple cat statue, as it is something that I admire most days as it lives on top of my wardrobe, and something that I really wanted to take the time to study. I began drawing the outline for my painting in the morning and continued to paint throughout the day until the evening- I wanted to put as much care and effort into this painting as possible, as I wanted it to show the appreciation I have for the statue and how beautiful I think it is. I used Gouache predominantly, sticking to a purely purple colour palette, before adding the finer details such as the symbols and letters with a white gel pen and some metallic white/silver acrylic paint. Overall, I am really pleased with the outcome of the painting. It had been such a long time since I had properly sat down and put that much time into a single piece, and I am really glad I did it as it has refueled the love that I have for painting. Now, I plan to get started with a second painting of something purple I own that I see everyday, possibly another ornament, I am still yet to decide. I do know that after my second painting, I hope to move on to paint a wider scene of purple. This is inspired by the artist Ruby Bassford’s work as she paints what looks to be scenes in her everyday, but in a sort of dreamy and colourful way, and this something I want to explore further.

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